Best Caliber for plainsgame in Africa ? Your opinion

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Frederik, Jun 6, 2009.

?

Best caliber for plainsgame

  1. various 7mm's

    22 vote(s)
    10.2%
  2. 308

    14 vote(s)
    6.5%
  3. 30-06

    35 vote(s)
    16.3%
  4. various .300's

    69 vote(s)
    32.1%
  5. 338 win mag

    32 vote(s)
    14.9%
  6. 358. norma magnum

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. 9.3 x 62

    12 vote(s)
    5.6%
  8. 375 H&H

    31 vote(s)
    14.4%
  1. DLS

    DLS AH Member

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    With the exception of Eland, a .30-06 is plenty of gun for any other plains game you can hunt in Southern or East Africa. Can other guns do a better job, probably for some of the bigger stuff, but the '06 is plenty, and would work adequately for Eland too.

    Now, if I could only take 1 rifle to Africa for plains game, ever, it'd be my .338 win mag, with which I do most of my hunting. If a guy could only take 1 rifle to Africa for all game, you'd never do better than the venerable .375 H&H. It is very versatile and can handle anything from dik-diks to elephants, and handle all of them well too.
     
  2. Karamojo Bill

    Karamojo Bill AH Senior Member

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    I'll throw my .02 cents in

    I have only hunted Africa once, (But am going back in 2010 with my sons).

    I shot nearly everything on my safari with my old Remington 700 in .338 WM because my CZ .416 Rigby wasn't cycling correctly. I use 250 gr Nosler Partitions.

    My wife made a comment at the sundown fire that she wondered if my .338 was enougth gun for my dangerous animal. Charl Watts, one of the owners of Steyn Caracal Safaris, replied that he'd have no hesitation shooting an elephant with the right bullets with a .338 WM. That to me, is testimony enough.

    I did finally shoot my blesbok with the .416 Rigby. Straight on in the chest. OMG! It went from stem to stern. Entrance hole that you could put your thumb through. When we went to pose him for the photos, you could have tied the frond legs behind it's neck.
     
  3. Cleathorn

    Cleathorn AH Senior Member

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    Since shopt placement is 90% of what it takes for a quick kill, any of the guns that the hunter can shoot very accurartoly will do just fine.

    Of the chioces listed, I picked any of the .30's because the .300 Win Mag was not specifically mentioned. I find that to be the perfect choice.

    There is excellent bullet selections and you can easily load up to a 220 gr bullet in the .300 Win Mag.

    Second, in the critical pinch, almost everyone that has ammo for sale has .300 Win Mag ammo, making it a better chioce than a less knwon caliber. The same can be said for the .30 06.

    I like the .300 of the .30 06 because of the abaility to load it hotter for better long range trajectory - useful in some of the desert regions where plains game are sometiems hunting and longer shots are required. The flatter the rifle shoots, the more likely the hunter will be able to make the shot.

    The recoil is not as bad (IMO) as the .338 or .375 so its easier on the 'average guy." Again, the same holds true for the .30 06 but I still think the more versatility and ability make hand loads for longer flatter shots and the breadth of bullet powder comninations is better for the .300 than the .30 06 so it edges the .30 06 out IMO.

    I have little to say about the 7mm's because I do not have any in my collection. I go from .234 for whitetail to .270 WSM for elk, red deer and similair sized game and anything that requires ultra flat trajectories, to the .300 Win Mag to the .375 and finally the .458 Lott. The 7mm are a great one gun chioce, just not one that I have made.

    In reality, I would take any of the cartridges listed and hunt just about anwhere. there is no right answer to this question - just a great way to start a debate.
     
  4. Billy Stewart

    Billy Stewart AH Senior Member

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    I went with the 7MM because i have alot of experience with them! I have taken alot of animals with my 7MM Mag and it has proven its self to me!
     
  5. sparkyrendon

    sparkyrendon New Member

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    .270

    I took my .270 with 150 gr Winchester Elite XP3's, and it performed well. Took springbok, gemsbok, kudu, blue wildebeest, and Hartman zebra. Wildebeest walked about 100 yards, then fell over dead - I had shot him straight on in the chest. Bullets performed extremely well, and the springbok and zebra were 300+ yard shots.
     
  6. Double D

    Double D AH Senior Member

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    I have used three different rounds in Africa for plains game. 7 X 57, 3006, and the .375. 375 makes sense if you are hunting DG as well. If not then what ever you are comfortable with will work. I have lately been thinking about this subject and if I were going to buy / build a new rifle to take for just plains game I would probably get a 35 whelen or a .325 WSM.
     
  7. ctulpa

    ctulpa AH Member

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    .300

    The question is a little difficult as plains game covers many different size animals, different skin thickness and different body structures.

    I prefer to use enough gun and would favor something with a little more knockdown power that one that is too light.

    My preference on most of the large plains game animals such as Eland, Zebra and Kudu would be the .416. Either .416 Win Mag or .416 Rigby, as both work fine. Having used both calibers on many eland, zebra and kudu with good performance from both. Can use a .300 if you have to and if it is your only gun in the safari, but preference is a .416 on these.

    For medium sized plains game, such as the different Wildebeest species, Hartebeest, Roan, Sable, Gemsbok and others of that size and structure, I prefer to have something that can reach out a bit further and still be able to secure the animal. Probably have seen more Wildebeest shot by other hunters and lost when using too small of a caliber like a .270 than any other animal. I know that you can use a .270 and kill a Wildebeest as I have done it also...and you can cull them with headshots with a .270 just fine. But for the average hunter that is trying to take his trophy of a lifetime, why go under powered on a tough animal. Put a well placed .300 round into his chest and you will make the trackers job a lot easier. I have also used a 7mm on Sable and even with a good double lung shot, he still traveled several hundred yards. I wished I had used the .300 on him or even the .416.

    A .375 is also a good choice and I have used it on many plains game in Cameroon, CAR, Tanzania and Uganda with very good results. I just prefer the flatter shooting accuracy of a .300 WM over the .375 on longer shots.

    For the smaller plains game animals such as the impala, bushbucks, blesbok, springboks, Mt. Reedbuck I still use the .300 as it is just easier to use the same rifle for plains game. Although for these a .270 or 7mm would work fine.

    For the tiny plains game animals...duikers, oribi, steenbok, klipspringer, grysboks, dik dik and those size, I prefer a .243 or .22-250 but I have also still use the .300 with a solid behind the shoulder and they don't go far. Stay off the shoulder and you won't ruin a cape. Just don't hit the shoulder!

    Overall you can use the .300 in all of the plains game and still feel confident that you are not under gunned. I usually use a CZ-USA Ultimate Hunter in .300 Win Mag using 180 grain bullets. Using both softs and solids depending on the game. This rifle has given me one hole group accuracy and as we all know accuracy is the most essential part of this whole equation.
     
  8. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ...Great post there ctulpa! I haven't looked at this thread as of late but I will throw in my 2 cents! Yes the 270 is an excellent caliber but I do believe it is a hair small on the bigger plains game animals. Don't get me wrong they will kill them just fine if placed correctly. Miss the heart or spine on a Wildebeest - hit in the lungs & see how far & fast you will recover it, if at all! When I go on safari's I'm there to shoot a bunch of animals - I certainly don't want to track & animal for a day or more, much alone encountering all the thorn bushes & snakes!
    From the articals I've read & talking to African outfitters at SCI expos they all recommend 30 caliber or more. So why not listen to the professionals that know & do this for a living. As also stated in prior responses in this thread that the fatty tissue inside will seal off the wounds - so bigger is probably better as it will leave bigger wound channels & a bigger blood trail.. As far as head shots previously mentioned - unless you are in a cull operation, That isn't even a option! The way the wind blew in Africa when I was there - be off a little or miss read the wind you probably can shoot the jaw off the animal, never recover it & certain death , not saying much for a clean, humane kill!
    ....Some people will claim a 243 is enough then some one will claim a 22/250 is enough. In the hands of an expert & if the shot is perfect it will work, but we as hunters owe it to the animal for quick,clean, humane kills. We don't need to fuel the anti's with wounded animals running around!
     
  9. dharding

    dharding AH Member

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    It might be usefull to have a forum dedicated to equipment, cause this thread could go on forever, and then we havn't even started talking optics and accessories yet...

    I've been bowhunting for a long time, and recently decided that buying a rifle might be worth all the effort that gets put into licensing it.
    After months of research, and plenty of opinions asked, I decided on a calibre. It took another few months to decide on which manufacturer and model to go for. What I was looking for is a all-rounder for plains game.

    Eventually I decided on a Tikka T3 Hunter in .30-06

    Now I'm deciding on a scope...
     
  10. mikeh416Rigby

    mikeh416Rigby AH Senior Member

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    I went with the 375 H&H because imho you are covered from Duiker at one end of the spectrum through Eland and Giraffe on the other end.
     
  11. kolbyk85

    kolbyk85 New Member

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    I am going with 30-378 weatherby I love this gun 3.5x10x50 leupold scope:shocked:
     
  12. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    .300 & .375

    .300 & .375 H&H Weatherby Magnum takes them all ..............

    Monish
     
  13. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Fredrick,

    Hi, My choice for Plains game have been .300 Weatherby 130 Grains Barnes TTSX for Duikers and its peers to 220 grains RNex upto Eland, have taken nearly all with this fantastic caliber. This 1944 calibre is superhit all across the globe for any game , just carry the right grainage and you procure fine trophies.
    The other is the Emperor --- .375 H&H Magnum , you shoot em all !! Have taken maximum game with this versatile calibre, using 250 270 & 300 loads.

    Monish
     
  14. mikeh416Rigby

    mikeh416Rigby AH Senior Member

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    Personally, I'd never attempt to take a Giraffe with any 30 caliber load. The shot would have to be nearly perfect. A Giraffe's shoulder is like a cement block.
     
  15. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Mike,

    Why do you say so ?? can you relate that plz.? As I have never taken this long neck , plan for net year, input would certainly be appreciable....

    Monish
     
  16. mikeh416Rigby

    mikeh416Rigby AH Senior Member

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    Quoting from Kevin Robertson's The Perfect Shot: For Africa:

    " , an average giraffe (bull) can weigh 1 1/2 tons". A very large bull will weigh up to 4300 pounds or slightly more. That's more than twice as much as an average Cape Buffalo bull.

    More quotes from Robertson's book:

    "Giraffe have thick, tough skin; require same bullet selection as for a pachyderm. Although the hotter 7mms are legal, the 9.3mms or 375 H&H and quality solids are the minimum calibres recommended for all body shots. Larger calibres even more effective. Premium-quality expanding bullets more effective for spinal and brain shots. Solids for body shots".

    On my one and only bull, which was a large one, my shot was taken from +- 150 yards using a 375 Ackley Improved and 270 grain Barnes XLC bullets. The bull was quartering slightly away so I held, and hit just behind the near shoulder. The bull ran a little over 100 yards and piled up. My shot hit right where I held, taking out the heart and one lung but didn't exit. It was buried deep into the off shoulder bone.

    If you don't have a copy of Kevin Robertson's book, I suggest anyone heading to Africa get one. I learned an awful lot from it.
     
  17. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Thanks a tonne Mike ,

    Shall put my hands on this Robertsons book....

    Monish
     
  18. mikeh416Rigby

    mikeh416Rigby AH Senior Member

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    Monish, if, after buying the book, you don't find it informative, I'll buy it from you.
     
  19. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Mike,

    I am certain would be very informative . thanks for suggesting, this is a sport you can never master , its learning all the time , hope you agree ???

    Your title suggests you are a .416 Rigbys aficionado , how long have you been using this calibre ?

    Monish

    Monish
     
  20. mikeh416Rigby

    mikeh416Rigby AH Senior Member

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    I only picked up the 416 Rigby in 2008 for a Cape Buffalo hunt, so my experience with it is minimal, but successful. My favorite go to rifle is my customized Winchester Model 70 in 375 Ackley Improved. It pretty much duplicates the ballistics of the 375 Weatherby, but has the advantage of being able to shoot 375 H&H loadings in a pinch.
     

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